The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires schools to serve the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities. Originally titled Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA), it was based on Congress' finding that the millions of children with disabilities had educational needs which were not being met. Schools must evaluate students suspected of having disabilities, including learning disabilities. IDEA's primary purpose is to assure that students with disabilities receive sufficient services to enable them to lead productive adult lives.
*Not every child with learning and attention issues qualifies for special education services under IDEA.
UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Right to education:
The Convention states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.
State Parties should ensure that:
State Parties should take appropriate measures, such as:
Education For All is based on the fundamental principle that all persons should have the opportunity to learn:
Inclusive education is the education framework for including children with disabilities and was originally based on a principle stating that all should have the opportunity to learn together.
Education For All does not limit its focus to primary education, but includes secondary and tertiary education as well. Children and adults with disabilities do not only have the right to an education, they have the right to be part of today's mainstream education system.
Disability Standards for Education were formulated under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and tabled in Parliament on 17 March 2005 and came into effect in August 2005. The Standards clarify the obligations of education and training providers to ensure that students with disabilities are able to access and participate in education without experiencing discrimination.
It is the ambition of the special educational needs (SEN) and disability division that every child with special educational needs reaches their full potential in school, and can make a successful transition to adulthood and the world of further and higher education, training or work.
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) provides leadership and support for a comprehensive program of research related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. All their programmatic efforts are aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities from birth through adulthood.
Quick Facts Regarding Disability and Education:
Typical learning difficulties include dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, often complicated by associated disorders such as attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder.
In the fall of 2012, there were 67,529,839 students ages 6 to 21 in the United States. Of these students ages 6 to 21, 5,693,441 or 8.4 percent received special education services under IDEA, Part B. Hawaii had the smallest percentage (6.3 percent), while New Jersey had the largest percentage (11.6 percent).
Of the 6,429,431 youth ages 3 to 21 who received special education services under IDEA, Part B, in the fall of 2012, 735,890 (or 11.4 percent) were 3 to 5 years old; 2,631,472 (or 40.9 percent) were 6 to 11 years old; 2,700,531 (or 42.0 percent) were 12 to 17 years old; and 361,538 (or 5.6 percent) were 18 to 21 years old.
The 5,693,441 students ages 6 to 21 who received special education services under IDEA, Part B, in the fall of 2012 were in the following diagnostic categories: 2,268,098 (or 39.8 percent) in specific learning disability, 1,032,729 (or 18.1 percent) in speech or language impairment, 415,697 (or 7.3 percent) in intellectual disabilities, 359,389 (or 6.3 percent) in emotional disturbance, 124,722 (or 2.2 percent) in multiple disabilities, 68,069 (or 1.2 percent) in hearing impairments, 52,052 (or 0.9 percent) in orthopedic impairments, 757,904(or 13.3 percent) in other health impairments, 24,987 (or 0.4 percent) in visual impairments, 440,592 (or 7.7 percent) in autism, 1,281 (or 0.02 percent) in deaf-blindness, 25,020 (or 0.4 percent) in traumatic brain injury, and 122,901 (or 2.1 percent) in developmental delay.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Digest of Education Statistics, 2012 (NCES 2014-015), Chapter 2.
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